Angela was so excited that we finally got Nonna Caterina to make her favourite cookies-“twists”. Truth be told, we’re not even sure if these are of Italian origin, but what I do know is that every Italian celebration, be it bridal showers, weddings, holidays or any other “big event” you will find a version of twist cookies lining cookie trays.
These cookies are filled with a chopped walnut mixture and the no fail cream cheese dough is a perfect match with the filling. The dough is prepared in the evening and left to rest in the fridge overnight. Pieces of dough are rolled out into a square, the yummy walnut filling is spread evenly over it and then the dough is folded into thirds so the filling is “trapped” between layers of the dough as in the photo below. Nonna Caterina discovered an interesting trick to make these cookies “twist” really easily while safely exposing some of the filling which gets somewhat “caramelized” as it bakes. Each cookie is 3/4″ wide with slits cut into the cookie at each 1/4″. Try not to cut through the ends of the cookie when making the slits to keep the cookies intact when twisting. Check out the video that demonstrates this step.
By the way, how many of your moms or nonnas have one of these homemade pastry boards at home?
Angela will agree that you can’t eat just one with your cup of espresso or tea!
A sour cream dough cookie with a walnut sugar filling and twisted altogether
For the dough
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature soft
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 teaspoonfuls vanilla
- 4 cups all purpose flour
For the filling
- 6 egg whites
- 3 cups sifted icing sugar
- 4 cups finely chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup golden rum (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Mix the butter into the flour with your hands.
- Beat the egg yolks with a fork and mix into the butter/flour mixture.
- Add the sour cream and mix altogether with your hands.
- Knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.
- Shape into a log. Cover with food safe plastic wrap and put in the fridge overnight.
For the filling
- Beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the icing sugar and continue beating until well mixed. Fold in the walnuts and rum if using.
- Divide the dough into 7 equal pieces (keep unused dough covered in the fridge).
- Roll each piece into an 18X20 sheet.
- Divide the filling into seven equal parts and spread 1 part of filling onto each sheet.
- Fold one third of the dough sheet into the middle and then fold the other side over (see photo).
- Each cookie is 3/4 wide. Make 2X1/4″ slits, being careful not to cut through the ends of the cookie and make the final cut all the way through to form one cookie. See video.
- Carefully twist the cookies to shape as in the photo.
- Bake on the middle rack of oven until golden brown in colour. Flip pans, halfway through.